What’s Coming to Walt Disney World in 2020 and 2021

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

As more details become available about projects in development, the anticipation is heating up for what’s ahead at Walt Disney World

It all starts with Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which is set to open on March 4, 2020, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Somewhat surprisingly, when Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens in 2020, it will be the first Disney ride-through attraction featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. This is your chance to step inside a Mickey cartoon for a fun-filled adventure where mouse rules apply and you can expect the unexpected.

Steamboat Willie Whistle, Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway.

Disney Magic: the whistle providing the sound for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a piece of Disney history.

The level of detail here is incredible — in true Disney style. One of my favorite details is that the whistle that will provide the train whistle sound for the attraction is truly a Disney gem. The whistle was first used more than 90 years ago when it provided the sound of the steamboat whistle in “Steamboat Willie,” the 1928 animated short that introduced Mickey Mouse to the world. How’s that for an amazing bit of Disney magic?

But the fun doesn’t stop there…not by a long shot.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is only the beginning of a much bigger transformation currently underway at Walt Disney World. This is easily the most significant period of growth in the past 20 years and Disney fans are loving it.

Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser Atrium.

Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser Atrium.

What’s Ahead for Walt Disney World in 2020 and 2021

Here is the latest information for what’s coming to Walt Disney World in 2020 and 2021

Walt Disney World Star Wars Hotel

This is the one I’m most looking forward to. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will begin “transporting” guests to a galaxy far, far away in 2021. This two-night vacation experience will be a fully-immersive 24/7 in Star Wars story experience — including a visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Artist renderings show the guest arrival experience at the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal, as well as the out-of-this-world transport that will carry you from Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Galactic Starcruiser lightsaber training.

Galactic Starcruiser lightsaber training.

Here’s how it will all unfold:

  • The adventure begins when guests arrive at the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal at Walt Disney World and check in for their two-night experience.
  • Guests will be invited to enter a Launch Pod for transport into space. Through windows above, they’ll see themselves leave the real world behind as they jump to hyperspace and draw closer and closer to the Halcyon.
  • When the Launch Pod docks with the Halcyon and the airlock opens, guests will step into the ship’s main deck Atrium to begin their journey through a galaxy far, far away.
  • A visit aboard the Halcyon becomes a multi-day story that interweaves with members of the crew, other passengers, familiar Star Wars characters, and an excursion to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The all-immersive experience also features entertaining activities, such as:

  • Wielding a lightsaber while facing off against a training remote, where guests just may discover their own connection with the Force.
  • Visiting the starcruiser’s Bridge to learn about ship systems and how to operate them, including navigation and defense – skills that may just come in handy during a journey through this adventure-filled galaxy.

New Films Coming to Epcot

Over at Epcot, three new films debut on January 17, 2020 — the same day that the Epcot International Festival of the Arts begins:

  • “Awesome Planet” in The Land pavilion showcases the Earth’s beauty and diversity in a 10-minute film featuring spectacular imagery, in-theater effects and an original musical score from Academy Award-winning® composerSteven Price.
  • “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” in the France pavilion is directed and produced by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” films, and invites guests to participate in a twist on a tale as old as time. It also features narration from Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film. The new sing-along will run in rotation with “Impressions de France,” which will receive an upgrade to 4K projection.
  • “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” in the Canada pavilion is an update to the previous “O Canada!” film with new scenes, a new musical score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington and new narration by award-winning actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.

Mickey Shorts Theater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (opening March 2020) will show an original short film in the style of the popular Disney Channel animated series “Mickey Mouse,” and will feature photo-opportunity locations for guests. The theater will even include fun Mickey Mouse-themed seats.

A new adventure hunt will launch at Epcot as well. Disney’s DuckTales World Showcase Adventure invites guests to join Scrooge McDuck, Donald, nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, Launchpad and Webby in search of priceless treasure. Using the Play Disney Parks mobile app, guests take a trip around World Showcase discovering exotic destinations, exciting mysteries, and maybe even a few thieves, villains and supernatural guardians of ancient artifacts. This will be the next iteration of a popular interactive scavenger hunt around World Showcase guests have enjoyed for years as they experience the magic of possibility at Epcot.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Ride Vehicle.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Ride Vehicle

A Ratatouille Attraction in the U.S.A.

Fans of Ratatouille have enjoyed the popular attraction at Disneyland Paris, and soon they’ll be able to enjoy a similar adventure at Walt Disney World.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, opening summer 2020 in the France pavilion at Epcot, brings guests on a super-sized adventure with Chef Remy through Gusteau’s restaurant. A new image released today shows Disney Imagineers at work creating the immersive attraction.

Regal Eagle Smokehouse, Epcot.

Regal Eagle Smokehouse, Epcot.

More Great Disney Dining is Coming Your Way

The Smokehouse Becomes a Permanent Fixture: and more new dining is also on the way

One of the things I most look forward to during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is the Smokehouse. Now, this popular dining spot is getting a permanent home.

Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue, is a new fast-casual restaurant opening at The American Adventure in Epcot. It will serve classic American backyard barbecue and home-style craft brews in an atmosphere that will welcome BBQ aficionados with open arms.

Space 220 is a new table-service restaurant debuting this winter at Epcot – next to Mission: SPACE. It will give the feel of dining 220 miles above the Earth’s surface, complete with celestial views. Here, you will step inside the restaurant’s space elevator to prepare for liftoff; as if you’re traveling straight up into space to dock next to the Centauri Space Station suspended just beyond the orbit of Mission: SPACE. Upon arrival, you’ll be guided to your seats past the grow zone, a spinning wall of produce that mimics Earth’s gravity and represents some of the fresh ingredients used by the restaurant’s culinary team.

Finally, Roundup Rodeo BBQ is a new table-service restaurant coming to Toy Story Land in 2020. Here, you’ll be immersed with all the toy pals in a fun, family-friendly environment constructed from Andy’s favorite larger-than-life play sets and games.

With all of the exciting new additions coming to Walt Disney World leading up to the 50th anniversary in 2021, it may be hard to pick a favorite!

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Mike Belobradic, The Finer Side of Travel™
A Luxury Disney Travel Blog